Nye’s ideas of soft and hard power represent an excellent view of how the
But is this the case? When reviewing the domestic sphere in the US, Nye notes that the power of the American domestic sphere is found in numerous aspects, but the one I take issue with in this entry is in the continuing power of the “melting pot” ideal (118). Nye notes that this idea of the melting pot continues to shape American culture as it both integrates different cultures into the American domestic sphere and broadens America’s interests abroad (118, 119). However, many political theorists, including but certainly not limited to Kimberly Curtis in Our Sense of the Real, Michael Warner in Publics and Counter Publics, Jurgen Habermas in The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere and John Dewey in The Public and Its Problems bring forth arguments that oppose Nye’s mystical melting pot. I will only expand on Curtis here.
Kimberly Curtis notes a strong increase in enclaving within
More importantly, however, is the role of shaping reality to each individual person. Curtis states that “our ability to experience and constitute a world shared in common is utterly dependent on that world appearing to us through the eyes of others” (16). It then logically follows that if we are to understand and comprehend a true sense of reality the eyes that we look through must be the eyes of those different from us. Otherwise, if we are to live in a homogenous society, we are basically seeing ourselves through our own eyes at all times and thus never experiencing a true reality.
The breakdown of the plurality of our society deeply undermines not only our soft power but also our hard power. In Nye’s words “If these divisions were as deep as portrayed, they could undercut our hard power by inhibiting our capacity to act collectively, and diminish our soft power by reducing the attractiveness of our society and culture” (113).
If the fears of these theorists are true and the undermining of